Earlier, I wrote here about past mixed experiences with while exploring Mexico’s cenotes, an ancient system of caves and underground rivers only found in this part of Mexico: Dzitnup was a dud, but Aktun Chen was a major must-do.
Now, in my latest installment of Homebody in Motion’s Unofficial Guide to Cenotes, I bring you dispatches from Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum, a great pick for a couple-hour adventure.
Just back from Tulum for the first time since 2008, I have been reflecting on the ways in which the little city on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has changed — that much-discussed evolution of Tulum from sleepy beach town to New York trend-story fodder.
That reflection led me to plumb the endless depths of the Internet for my now-defunct blog from back then, in which I described that first trip to the region. What I found was 1) such novice blogging I’m actually embarrassed, and more importantly 2) actually a pretty great template for a Yucatán Peninsula road trip that can be replicated in just five days of travel, and on a budget.
Because of that old post’s legit travelogue value, I’ve decided to repost it here (with some edits for clarity and comparison, and to minimize the meandering writing). A swiftly moving five-day outline on a reasonable budget, with a healthily balanced itinerary including relaxation, adventure, and culture, it can be a source of trip-planning inspiration for would-be Yucatán Peninsula road trip goers — or just fodder for wanderlust daydreams!
Without further ado…
In my last post, I talked in detail about our glorious experience at the St. Regis Punta Mita, one of the luxe resorts in the gated Punta Mita enclave, where a vacationer could easily wile away endless hours at the sprawling pools and beach.
But we were also near enough to a couple of other fantastic options for day trips from Punta Mita that I’d love to share here.
Belize is well known for its world-class diving along the western hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, yes. But there’s a littler-known activity on the mainland that’s a total must for adventure travelers: the absolutely amazing ATM cave tour.
When I read about the sacred ATM cave — that’s for Actun Tunichil Muknal, no relation to the cash machine — I knew we had to try it. I did some research on the web (thanks, as always, trusty TripAdvisor!) and reached out to Carlos, who goes by “Carlos the Cave Man.” People seemed to love his expert leadership and charisma on tours through world’s top sacred cave, according to National Geographic. He’s one of only 23 guides in the country certified to lead the experience.
You guys. You’ve got to go do this hike.
I’ve hiked to the Hollywood sign several times, and have publicly declared it my favorite local trek. It’s such a great combination of urban and rustic — well, no, it’s actually totally urban, but it’s on a mountain in dirt, so. You can approach this hike from several different angles, with varying degrees of difficulty. LAist has a really comprehensive guide to the various options. And Modern Hiker, the best local hiking blog I can recommend, has a great step-by-step guide too.